Legend vs. Legend: FanSince09 Interviews The Iron Sheik

Legend vs. Legend: FanSince09 Interviews The Iron Sheik

I love The Iron Sheik, and so do you.

Don’t even try to deny it.

If you were male and were born at any point during the 80s, you watched wrestling. No matter how sophisticated you like to think you are, you watched wrestling. Every Saturday, you tuned in for an hour of WWF Superstars. If you were allowed to stay up, you probably also watched Saturday Night’s Main Event. You bought all the merchandise. You had the magazines and posters. You most likely knocked a friend out cold by hitting him with one of those old school 8’ JLN action figures made out of solid, heavy rubber. And every few months, you’d go to the Spectrum for a House Show.

Before Monday Night RAW and monthly pay per views, the house show was king.  Title changes would rarely happen, but arenas would go nuts for the chance to see wrestling’s biggest names wrestle to count outs, no decisions and double disqualifications. We would go nuts for heroes like Hulk Hogan and Andre The Giant, but secretly, we were there to see the heels. We wanted to see the bad guys get the crowd fired up.  And in my opinion, which is always correct, there was no better wrestling heel than The Iron Sheik.

Waving the Iranian Flag and often accompanied by his Soviet partner, Nikolai Volkoff, Iron Sheik would infuriate crowds by demanding they stand for the Iranian (or Soviet) national anthem, followed by a declaration “Iran Number One!” and spitting on America. In the post- Iran Contra Reagan era, this was red meat to fans looking for someone to hate.

Fast-forward 30 years.  Long retired from wrestling, The Iron Sheik has reestablished himself as a more than a wrestling superstar; he’s evolved into a full-fledged Social Media Brand.  Instead of pissing off arenas full of fans, Sheik is now famous for calling out celebrities and giving his daily thoughts on sporting events, politics and life.  Kids who loved to hate him are now adults who can’t wait to see what he’ll say next.

Even a legendary WWE Champion needs some additional exposure and knowing that I’m the voice of our Fanbase, Sheik and his representatives reached out for an interview: legend on legend.  Naturally, I jumped at the opportunity to ask the hard hitting questions that the Philadelphia fanbase demands.

Sheikybaby’s answers are in caps, per his request.

FanSince09: Growing up, I used to go to WWF house shows at the Philadelphia Spectrum, where you had many great matches.  Do you have any special memories of matches or moments you had in Philadelphia?

The Iron Sheik: I REMEMBER I WORK WITH THE SLAUGHTER IN THE SPECTRUM. WE MAKE A LOT OF NOISE AND STEAL THE SHOW. I WAS HOTTEST THING IN THE BUSINESS. ALSO I REMMEBER I ONCE BREAK THE BACK OF THE JABRONI TITO SANTANA

Philadelphia was the home of ECW, which pioneered the hardcore style of wrestling.  What are you feelings about ECW? Do you feel Extreme/Hardcore wrestling has helped or hurt the business?

THEY TRY HARD THE INTELLIGENT JEW MY GOOD FRIEND THE PAULY VERY SMART HE MAKE GOOD BUSINESS. BUT YOU SEE ONLY ONE EMPEROR OF ROME ONLY ONE KENNEDY MCMAHON. NOBODY MORE INTELLIGENT THAN MY #1 BOSS AND THE WWF OR WWE.

You were the greatest heel of all time.  Now that wrestling has moved away from colorful characters and gimmicks, do you think there will ever be a heel as hated as you were?  Who do you think is the best heel working today?

ONLY ONE IRON SHEIK ONLY ONE MUHAMMED ALI ONLY ONE MICHAEL JACKSON. MY TIME I MOST BELIEVABLE BECAUSE OF THE HOSTAGE SITUATION. YOU CANNOT TRY TO DO SAME THING AGAIN AND ALL TV NOT SURE WRESTLING CHANGE. TODAY I LOVE THE BROCK LESNAR I LOVE THE CM PUNK. THEY LOVE THE BUSINESS AND RESPECT THE LEGEND

The Philadelphia 76ers recently drafted Arsalan Kazemi, their first Iranian born player.   What advice would you give him about being an Iranian sports star playing in the US?

OH BUBBA YOU ASK EXCELLENT QUESTION. THE ARSALAN GOOD ATHLETE AND HE FROM THE IRAN MY FIRST HOME. I HOPE HE WORK HARD HE TRAIN HE BECOME ONE DAY IRON SHEIK CLASS. HE NEED TO SHOW ME THAT HE READY SO I CAN RESPECT HIM.

Which is your favorite Rocky movie?  If you were cast as Rocky's opponent, would you have put Rocky over? 

BUBBA I LOVE THE ROCKY LIKE I LOVE MY GOOD FRIEND THE ROCK. ALL THE MOVIE GOOD BECAUSE THEY FIGHT WITH THE HEART LIKE THE LEGEND

There is actually a statue of Rocky at the Philadelphia Art Museum.  If someone made an Iron Sheik jawn, where would it be? 

HAHA, BUBBA MY STATUE BE EVERYWHERE. BECAUSE I HAVE MY FANS IN EVERY CITY COAST TO COAST THEY KNOW ABOUT THE LEGEND. I LOVE THEM FOREVER BECAUSE THEY RESPECT ME.

The Declaration of Independence was signed in Philadelphia in 1776.   Which founding father do you think would make the best wrestler?  I’d go with Ben “The Body” Franklin.

HE GOOD GIMMICK MAN HE KNOW HOW TO TALK LIKE THE JESSE VENTURA. THEY KNOW ABOUT BUSINESS AND HOW TO MAKE THE PEOPLE LOVE THEM.

Do you like Philly Cheesesteaks?  Whiz, Provo, Swis or American?

OH I LOVE THAT SANDWHICH. I GET ONE WITH THE NASTY BOYS THEY SHOW ME. AMERICAN CHEESE MAKE ME HAPPY

Smh. Provo or Whiz were the only acceptable answers. I’ll let that slide, since it’s still better than Ben Revere’s first steak.

So Ock, besides wrestling, do you follow any other sports?  Are you a fan of any of the Philly teams?

I LOVE ALL THE SPORTS. I LOVE THE BASKETBALL THE PHILADEPLHIA PLAYER THE SPENCER HAWES HE RESPECT ME AND I LOVE HIM FOREVER. I LOVE THE FOOTBALL AND THE HOCKEY.

Lighting Round:  I’m going to list the name of some prominent Philadelphia entertainers and athletes, and you tell me whether or not they’re The Real.  

Boys II Men

HALF AND HALF

Will Smith

THE REAL

Roy Halladay

THE REAL

Donovan McNabb

THE VIRGIL

Coal Hammels

HE NO GOOD JABRONI PUNK. I DON’T LIKE HIM I DON’T RESPECT HIM BECAUSE HE THINK HE BIG DEAL I CAN BREAK HIS NECK PUT HIM IN CAMEL CLUTCH MAKE HIM HUMBLE.  F THE COAL HAMMELS

OK, that was the greatest moment in the history of our great sport and probably the highlight of my life.

Now, some readers may not know this:  You’ve taken to IndieGogo to fundraise for a documentary about your life.  What’s your goal with releasing the documentary?   

I WORK WITH MY AGENTS TO I PUT TOGETHER MY LIFE MOVIE. THIS VERY IMPORTANT TO ME BECAUSE THE PEOPLE DON’T KNOW ALL ABOUT IRON SHEIK. THEY KNOW ONLY WRESTILNG SIDE. THIS WAY NO MY TIME TO LET THE PEOPLE KNOW ABOUT THE LEGEND

You've raised a nice chunk of change so far, how does it make you feel to see so many wrestling fans that want to give back to you?

OH EXCELLENT. I LOVE MY WRESTLING FANS I LOVE MY TWITTER FANS. THEY SUPPORT ME AND THEY LET ME SPEAK WITH THE HEART. THIS WAY NOW MY TIME TO SHARE WITH THEM AND RESPECT THEM IRON SHEIK CLASS

The wrestling industry doesn't provide a lot of help or support for wrestlers once their career ends, do you think fundraising projects like this are a good way to help former wrestling superstars get by?

BUBBA, WRESTLING TOUGHEST SPORT. WE ON THE ROAD 300 DAY A YEAR WE HAVE TO TAKE CARE OF OURSELF ONLY WAY TO SAVE. NO TIME OFF BECAUSE YOU GET HURT YOU LOSE YOUR JOB. THIS WAY VERY DIFFICULT. I THINK ALL THE WORKERS NEED TO BE SMART THEY KNOW ONE DAY THEY HAVE TO BE SMART. NOW I HOPE THE FANS REMEMBER ME AND THEY HELP ME SO I DON’T BE FORGOTTEN.

What's next for you after the documentary?  

WE SEE WHAT HAPPEN BECAUSE A LOT OF PEOPLE CALL THEY WANT TO WORK WITH THE LEGEND BUT I NOT IN GOOD SHAPE I NEED TO GET BETTER SO THE PEOPLE CAN SEE MORE OF THE IRON SHEIK

Everyone knows I'm a legend on twitter, but am I Iron Sheik class yet?  If not, how can I put myself over?

BUBBA YOU ARE A LEGEND BECAUSE YOU RESPECT THE LEGEND. THAT IS THE #1 RULE. AFTER THAT YOU RESPECT YOURSELF YOU ALWAYS BE HUMBLE YOU ALWAYS SHOW THE PEOPLE YOU ARE THE REAL. THIS WAY YOU BECOME #1. IF YOU DON’T YOU ARE BIG TIME JABRONI DON’T WASTE MY TIME

You can help finance The Iranian Legend: The Iron Sheik Story by donating here.

The Sheik is offering a variety of perks, but more importantly, the funds raised will allow Sheik to have ankle and knee surgery that will allow The Sheik to get back on his feet and pursue career opportunities.

Thanks to Magen Boys Entertainment for giving Sheik the chance to be interviewed by the voice of Philadelphia.   My inner 8 year old is marking out.

Previously: FanSince09's Lunch with Sixers CEO Adam Aron: A Troll's Remorse

You can follow FanSince09 on Twitter here. Photoshops by @_magowan, @ThePhilaPanda and @ZooWithRoy

Several reasons behind Brandon Graham's seemingly sudden emergence

Several reasons behind Brandon Graham's seemingly sudden emergence

With three sacks in three games, Brandon Graham is off to the fastest start of his career by far, already almost halfway to his career high of 6½. Naturally, the Eagles' defensive end is excited about the production, but not nearly as excited as he was with the defense as a whole after a 34-3 romp over the Steelers on Sunday.

"For us, I was just happy we stayed together, we played together and the outcome was good," Graham said postgame. "Hats off to Pittsburgh because we did a lot of planning for them. We respect them a lot.

"I am just happy to get this win and I am happy in the style we did it."

Graham was one of four Eagles players to bring down Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, marking the first time the seventh-year veteran has recorded at least one sack in three consecutive games. In fact, prior to this season, Graham had never posted a sack in Week 1.

For once, the numbers are taking care of themselves for Graham — although that's not what he's focused on.

"Since I've been here, I've never gotten a sack in the first game, and I've never been consistent," Graham said. "I'm just trying to be the leader, go out there, get W's and be relentless."

There are plenty of explanations for Graham's seemingly sudden emergence.

This is only his second season as a full-time player in the NFL after injuries, then depth conspired to keep the 2010 first-round pick on the bench early in his career. Perhaps all he needed was an opportunity. The switch back to a 4-3 defense and wide-nine front no doubt helped rejuvenate Graham's career as well, allowing him to move from outside linebacker back to his natural position at defensive end and focus on rushing the passer.

With Connor Barwin, Vinny Curry and Marcus Smith all rotating in at end, Graham is also being kept fresh. Last season, the Eagles lacked the quality reserves to provide many breathers for Barwin and Graham on the outside.

"It's a great feeling because there's no pressure to hurry up and get back out," Graham said. "I feel like everybody is just as good and there's no drop-off when we come out of there.

"It's definitely going to help us later on in the year. It's been helping now."

There are all sorts of schematic reasons why Graham could finally be on his way to a breakout season. This will be his first full season as a starter at D-end in a 4-3, it's the first time since 2012 he's in a wide-nine and the defense no longer has to be worried about being exhausted by Chip Kelly's offense's uptempo approach.

Graham was also blessed with a new addition to his family during the offseason — a baby girl. The 28-year-old admits that changed his perspective as well, making him want to work even harder toward achieving his goals.

"Just the preparation and then the work this offseason, I took it up to another level," Graham said. "I guess because I had a daughter this offseason, everything is kind of viewed a different way for me.

"I know we have a good defense — that helps out a lot, too. I couldn't ask for a better defense right now."

Clearly, those goals are not individually motivated. Graham wants to be part of something great, and with a dominant performance against the Steelers in Week 3, the Eagles and their defense passed a huge test.

"I feel like we improved," Graham said. "We got a lot better. We stopped a good team, a great team, a well-coached team. Our hats off to them because they made us work this week."

Few people were expecting the Eagles to handle a trendy Super Bowl pick the way they did, and Graham actually prefers it that way.

"I hope we still get overlooked because it feels so good when people are talking the way they did," Graham said. "It added a little fuel. We watched a little bit of the TV (Sunday) morning, and they were just saying how [the Steelers] were going to dog us.

"I'm just happy that we came out and did what we were supposed to do, and I hope we stay the underdog because, for us, nobody gave us a chance and we stayed together. If we stay together in here, that's all that matters."

Through three games, the Eagles lead the NFL in fewest points surrendered with a paltry 27 and rank fourth in yards allowed. They're also tied for third with 10 sacks and tied for seventh with six takeaways.

If the defense stays together the way Graham says they have, how far does he think the Eagles go this season?

"I don't know," Graham said. "If we keep playing like that, there is no ceiling."

Flyers Notes: Promising performances from young defensemen

Flyers Notes: Promising performances from young defensemen

The most impressive thing about the Flyers' 4-0 preseason win over the Islanders on Tuesday night was the play of the their young defense and the outstanding work by the penalty kill.

Ivan Provorov, Travis Sanheim and Philippe Myers each gave a strong accounting of themselves while veteran Andrew MacDonald proved why experience helps with some terrific PK work during an extended five-on-three Islanders power play in the third period.

“Overall, they did a good job,” head coach Dave Hakstol said. “I look at some of the opportunities we gave up, especially in the second period, we gave up three or four Grade A opportunities that Mase (goalie Steve Mason) was great on, but I put those on our forwards.

“We’re still not into regular-season form on our play without the puck. I thought as a whole, the group of defensemen did a good job and the young guys in there were good tonight.”

Sanheim had strong plays the entire game from the point and picked up two assists (see highlights). He gets the puck quickly on net and joins the play up front.

“It took me a little bit, even in this game,” Sanheim said. “As I play more, I started to jump up more and you start to see my game more. It’s something I want to bring to this next level.”

Provorov logged 21:43 of ice time following nearly 29 minutes at New Jersey. He had 5:17 on the PK. Some of his clears weren’t deep or hard enough, at times, possibly because of fatigue.

He also took a bad boarding hit on Joshua Ho-Sang in the third period that set up an Isles five-on-three power play. It became extended because of a trip call to Myers but MacDonald did yeoman’s work on the extended PK.

Provorov quarterbacks the first-unit man advantage for now until Shayne Gostisbehere joins the crowd. He had some very skillful passes. The Russian can find the seam up the ice on the breakout quickly and had a no-look, hard pass to Nick Cousins in the second period for a quality one-timer on net.

Expect Provorov to handle the second-unit power play during the season, should he make the roster.

The goals
Although the Flyers, using a better NHL lineup, were lacking for offensive chances early against the Isles' "B" squad, they found their way in the final four minutes of the opening period.

First, Dale Weise had one of those pinball goals as a bouncing puck hit a couple of players in the slot, including goalie Chris Gibson, to make it 1-0 during four-on-four play.

That was the Flyers' first goal of preseason in three games. A little more than a minute later, Wayne Simmonds scored off a rebound just as a Flyers power play ended. Simmonds had two goals in the game, including a wrister from the left circle to open the final period.

Smallish (5-foot-7) — but bullish — centerman Andy Miele, a former Hobey Baker Award winner as college hockey’s top player (Miami-Ohio), made it 3-0, out-battling Thomas Hickey for the rebound of Michael Raffl’s shot.

The shield
Simmonds is wearing a visor for the first time. It’s an experiment for now.

“Everyone is all over me about it,” he said. “We’ll see what happens. It wasn’t too bad tonight. The only thing is trying to track pucks in the sky when you are getting the glare from the lights. A little bit of an adjustment."

He said neither his mother nor girlfriend had pushed him as hard to wear the shield as someone else: “Ron Hextall,” he said flatly. “He gave me a call.”

Because of his tenacious play in the slot where sticks are high and pucks are deflected, a shield makes sense.

“Yeah, I think so, being that front guy and doing work on the PK,” he said. “Getting sticks in lanes like that, the game is really fast and pucks get deflected.

“Sometime you don’t know where they’re going and can’t react to that. Obviously, the shield is good for that."

He added he would wear the shield in a fight, too.

“Every time I fight and someone has a shield on, I’m at a disadvantage so I guess this evens it up,” he said.

Loose pucks
Weise did a nice job sticking up for teammates late during a melee after a Ben Holmstrom crosscheck to linemate Nick Cousins. “It was a bad crosscheck and you’re defending your teammates,” he said. “The ref was in the way and I kind of went overtop him. That’s what I’m about. Guys take liberties on my linemates, I’ll stand up for them.” … Matt Read had just 6:54 ice time through two periods. Fourth-liner Boyd Gordon had more ice time there — 9:39 — but Read finished with 13:55 to Gordon’s 13:41. More than half of Gordon’s ice time was on the penalty kill. … Goalie Steve Mason faced some point-blank chances among the first 17 shots he faced and finished with 23-save shutout.